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IOWA HAWKEYES PLAYER PREVIEWS: MIKE GESELL

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It's the last ride for Iowa's senior signal-caller.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Gesell

Bio: Senior, 6'2", 195 lbs. (South Sioux City, NE)
Last season: 25.5 minutes per game, 7.4 points per game, 4.0 assists per game, .267 3FG%

What we saw last season: Gesell was never the best player on the team, but it often seemed as though he was the most important: Iowa often had a hard time winning without getting a solid performance from Gesell, whereas Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff could more reliably "get theirs" regardless of how the game went. Gesell shook off a dreary performance from the field early in the year to shoot 51% on two-pointers in conference play (he was at 34% otherwise), while his three-pointers (21%) and free throws (56%) plummeted in the B1G. Plus-level defenders flummoxed him at times, and the times when Gesell was getting rattled usually coincided with Iowa's second-half swoons. Still, when he was on, the rest of the team just clicked, and at the very least the three was phased out of his repertoire down the stretch.

What we need to see this season: As one of the senior leaders, Gesell will need to be a consistent force for the team, both in quality of play and in leadership. The best point guards are extensions of their coaches on the floor, and that means Gesell will need to be more vocal than we've seen from him in years past; there's really nobody left on the team to whom he should be deferring from here on out.

Best case scenario: Gesell's long-range jumper returns to the right side of the .300 line, and forces defenses to respect it just enough to open the floor up for drives and kicks. Gesell finally gets calls when he gets hammered at the rim, and he becomes an unlikely replacement for the work done by Aaron White and Gabe Olaseni getting opposing bigs into foul trouble. Gesell and Adam Woodbury finally develop the two-man game fans envisioned when the two were recruited together, and Gesell cruises to five-plus assists per year and generates some All-Big Ten noise.

Most likely scenario: Gesell's pretty much a known quantity at this point, and his game is what it is: a good handle, strong passes off the drive, an iffy jumper and average defense. None of that changes in 2015-16, and his stats fall mostly in line with how they've been for his career: let's call it 8 ppg, 4.5 apg, a rebound or two and a steal per game. Turnovers stay low, and he keeps a deathlock on the starting gig for the season.

One request: This one's more for Fran McCaffrey, but be quicker with the timeout and/or substitution if Gesell's having trouble getting the ball past midcourt. Otherwise, that way lies disaster.